McCain: Palin was 'best qualified'
Then-Republican presidential nominee John McCain stands with then-Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin at the Republican National Convention on September 4, 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
March 11th, 2012
04:10 PM ET
9 years ago

McCain: Palin was 'best qualified'

(CNN) – Despite the hype, Sen. John McCain has no plans to watch HBO’s “Game Change,” the new film about his unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign.

“I’m not going to watch it,” McCain said on “Fox News Sunday.” “It’s based on a book that’s completely biased and with unattributed quotes, et cetera.”

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The film, which debuted on television Saturday, is based on the 2010 book of the same name and focuses on McCain’s vice presidential pick, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. In the election, McCain and Palin lost to Barack Obama and Joe Biden, with Palin’s inexperience on the national stage cited as one of the reasons.

But McCain defended his choice Sunday, as he has done consistently, saying she was the “best qualified person” and had the ability to energize the Republican Party.

“I admire and respect her and I’m proud of our campaign,” McCain said. “I’m grateful she ran with me.”

The Arizona senator also rejected what he said was the film’s depiction of him as foul-mouthed.

“I have been told I am portrayed as using an exceeding amount of coarse language,” McCain said. “I don't use coarse language very often. I have a larger vocabulary than that.”

McCain’s wife, Cindy, criticized the film to CNN’s Piers Morgan earlier in the week and said she too would not watch.

Nicolle Wallace, who served as a senior adviser to Team McCain during his presidential bid and was also portrayed in the film, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that the movie was “true enough to make me squirm.”

“Watching ‘Game Change’ is like reliving the most tumultuous professional roller coaster ride on which I’ve ever been,” Wallace wrote Sunday on “It brought back the highs – Palin’s surprise selection and her glorious moment on stage at our national convention – and the now well-documented lows.”

CNN and HBO are subsidiaries of Time-Warner, Inc.

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Filed under: 2008 Election • John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (381 Responses)
  1. MCJNY

    Mccain has no choice but to be supportive now. He choose her and ultimately he would only be slamming his own power judgement in not choosing a strong VP against obama. He underestimated obama. In a very real way, palin caused him to lose the presidency. Many many people I spoke to were terrified that mccain would die in office and leave us with palin as president. Palin has offered little to nothing to her country in this time. She is an opportunist who saw a way to make a lot of money doing virtually nothing. If you quit as governor because of scrutiny and challenge, what would she have done as president? I like mccain until he choose his running mate. Then I was done with the guy. Not that I love the idiot biden but Ill take him over palin in a heartbeat.

    March 11, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  2. livingston

    So he still considers her even slightly 'qualified'? Well, looking at the current crop of losers running, maybe he's right. How scary is that?

    March 11, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  3. aaron

    Once she got on the billionaire Koch brothers payroll as the head Koch h0@r, she energized every right-wing extremist crackpot in the US with her constant barrage of lies and drama.

    March 11, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  4. icarustraveler

    McCain was asked about future Republican presidential candidates on NBCs Tonight Show in April 2009. McCain conspicuously did not mention Palin in a list of "young and dynamic" governors. He followed by saying he'd left someone out, and was sure he would hear about it. He did. Palin supporters were in an uproar. Remember?

    March 11, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  5. Carol

    He is proud of their campaign??????? There are plenty of people who worked closely with Palin who can back up many things in this book. Not only that, but the American people saw her firsthand!!! McCain seems to have forgottten that....

    March 11, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  6. Rick in Az

    In 2008 everyone began to see the writing on the wall regarding the economy. So, instead of picking the magic man that the republican party is betting on to defeat Obama this time around, who does he pick? Sarah Palin LOL LOL LOL ! ! ! what does that truly say about John McCain's feelings towards Mitt Romney being qualified?

    March 11, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  7. Alaskan Voter

    We Alaskans are still paying for her hype and fizz administration. PLEASE don't send her back to us. We don't want her.

    March 11, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  8. Carol

    McCain has to take up for Palin to make himself look ok. How can he deny what we've all seen?

    March 11, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  9. 66Biker

    John McCain should do what Sarah Palin did. Quit her influential government job that she wasn't really doing and wasn't qualified for anyway, and go on a tour as a stand up comedian. Arizona and the country would both be better off if he would do that.

    March 11, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  10. Donaldbain

    I find it hard to believe McCain actually thinks Palin was the best person to pick. Her towering ignorance of virtually every aspect of anything a politician on the national stage should be aware of and out right refusal to accept and acknowledge the repercussions of her vapidity really calls McCain's selection as the candidate into question. If he didn't know any better it shows his obvious intellectual failings and inability to serve at the presidential level. His senate performances over the last couple of years indicate that it is time for him to retire, too.

    March 11, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  11. ksmary

    If Sen. McCain was so determined to have a woman on the ticket, he should have looked at some intellegent women leaders such as Kay Baily Hutchinson, Susan Collins, Linda Lingle or Christine Todd Whitman to name a few women in the Republican party, who had already been tested and proven.

    March 11, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  12. labman57

    If Palin was the most qualified GOP choice for VP, it doesn't speak well for the Republican Party as a whole.
    Reality check - McCain's fool-hearty decision to choose the Whining Wannabe from Wasilla as his running mate is simply another "inconvenient truth" for the Republican Party.

    March 11, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  13. Kate Hanni

    Wow, for John McCain to deny his foul mouth is laughable. It's widely known he has the worst temper and the foulest mouth in Congress. Period, full stop.

    March 11, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  14. Alex Santana

    And does anyone wonder why McCain lost? If Palin was best qualified, that was the death knell right there...both are out of step with reality. I met Palin unexpectedly in Sitka, AK in October 2007...she did not know then that Estonia was not part of "Russia". The journalist I was with was shocked...10 months later in August 2008, when McCain chose her, he was the first person to call me asking if this possibly was the same idiot he had met so many months ago...sadly I had to was.

    March 11, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  15. Peter Zheutlin

    Sick of hearing McCain continue to talk about how proud he is of Sarah Palin. She's a money and attention-seeking missile, divisive, ill-informed and poorly qualified. If it weren't for McCain's appalling lack of judgment in selecting her as his running mate she'd still be a huge nobody - no reality TV shows for herself and her daughter, no over-inflated book contracts, no platform for her narrow minded nonsense.

    March 11, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  16. Jules

    No, Palin was not best qualified. I watched Game Change last night and while I have a more sympathetic view of Sarah Palin and what she went through being thrust into the spotlight, she was not best qualified to be president if something happened to John McCain. It must simply be that John McCain cannot say that the whole campaign was wrong in selecting her as his runing mate. If he had selected Joe Lieberman as he wanted, he could have been very well elected president.

    March 11, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  17. Pablo695

    McCain and Palin – wrong in 2008, wrong now and wrong anytime in the future!!!

    March 11, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  18. Four and The Door

    Larry L
    With 325 million people in the US McCain felt Palin was "best qualified"? How'd that work out for you John?
    Not horrible. I mean, he didn't win as we all know, but it wasn't too bad considering that in a strong anti-Bush vote he got 47% of the popular vote with Sarah Palin on the ticket. 60 million votes out of 129 million voters. Not horrible.

    March 11, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  19. honeybe

    Funny......the ones who refuse to watch it haven't seen it and don't plan to. But yet they claim it is false. How about watching it first and then commenting on it? Sheesh!

    March 11, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  20. JasonP

    Excellent movie. I loved it!!!

    March 11, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  21. Bruce

    I love how McCain, his wife, and Palin are criticizing the movie even though they haven't watched it. I'm sure that McCain does the same thing when deciding to vote for or against a bill.

    March 11, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. Ambrose Smith

    Oh please. I guarantee that both McCain and Palin will privately watch the movie. Of course Palin will watch with the VOLUME TURNED DOWN like she claims with the Tina Fey stuff. (Yeah......right.) McCain will never admit that he chose the wrong person. Funny thing is that Palinistas hate John McCain.

    March 11, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  23. Mary

    McCain has to say she was the "best qualified". If he criticizes her in any way, it paints him as having made an irresponsible pick for a running mate.

    March 11, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  24. Orwell shrugs

    Vetting Palin was sloppy. Picking her was incompetent. Doubling up and not admitting your mistake is so Rush Limbaugh. Should have picked Lugar, but you are saying Palin is better. Now you want to send troops to Syria and Iran, clearly America is much better without you going senile as POTUS, or maybe you lost it a long time ago.

    March 11, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  25. Founders1791


    These ARE the Executive Positions of Government in the United States.

    DELUDE yourself into ignoring the fact that Sarah Palin has held ALL but "one" for a long time.

    DELUDE yourself into ignoring the fact that Sarah Palin ran a Commercial Fishing Business for 18 years.

    FACT: Governor Sarah Palin ran the affairs of 15,000 employees and an $11 billion budget better than Romney ran Massachusetts. Larger than Hersheys, Visa, Harley Davidson, or Bank of Ireland. Sarah's record proves: she delivered 3 fiscal years of Budgets that were balanced, on time, under budget, with surpluses, and transparency.

    Most opposition to Sarah comes from those who are insane with jealousy and envy toward white woman of accomplishment. Sexism runs deeper than racism.

    FACT: Sarah is "the most vetted" candidate EVER. Thousand trolling her emails to find "anything" that would make her look bad....they found none, zip, zilch. Just competent governing from the center. Demand to see obama's emails from 'anything' or Romney's.

    FACT: The second batch of emails prove she 'had to' leave office or face personal bankruptcy with over $500k in out of pocket costs, just for being in office? No socialist democrat would ever use 'their own money'.

    It's about time America elected a woman who is a walking example of rugged individualism who will expose corruption in either party. Time for a straight shooter from 'fly over country'

    March 11, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
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